I spent the first of this week in Wilmington, NC with my parents for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Besides getting a chance to see the ocean for a final time this season, I also had the opportunity to hear some fine sermons. My parent’s rabbi is Harley Karz-Wagman, and he preached a sermon on the power of language. He explained the need for people to take back language from the Christian Right and from people blasting GLBT equality among other examples.
The Christian Right, he said, does not represent most Christians and in fact is not “right” at all. GLBT equality is about the basic rights of all people to visit their loved ones at their hospital beds and to inherit estates; it is not about harming families or getting special privileges. His sermon spoke to me because the day before the Christian Right launched the offensive you have read about before on this website, that would allow (taxpayer subsidized) religion to become a partisan political tool. Congregations in America have the privilege and the responsibility of being tax exempt. Rabbi Karz-Wagman was able to follow the rules of a tax deductible organization and speak powerfully on important issues.
The next morning I read the local paper and learned that Brunswick County, the county next door, was having a fight over teaching creationism in schools alongside evolution. My favorite quote came from a Catholic priest named Father Hector La Chapelle who is standing against this attack on science: “The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” That is some great wisdom for the folks who think their take on religion is the one to teach in public schools.
Maybe everyone on the Brunswick school board should sit down with Rabbi Karz-Wagman, Father La Chapelle, and all the other clergy in the area and see if they can all decide which version of the Bible they should use to teach children about science. If anyone thinks that is a simple question, read the article and see what the Buddhist monk in the area says about it.